These tenses permit you to discuss incredibly particular moments in time, from the previous with the future. They allow you to discuss events that were finimelted periods back, or occasions that will be proceeding for years and years.

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Whether you are telling stories, making plans or simply chatting around your day, you will certainly require English compound tenses to connect choose a indigenous speaker would.

Fortunately, expertise compound tenses is not almost as complicated as building a time machine. And learning them will certainly assist you sheight and create favor an advanced English learner.

We will certainly walk you through nine English compound tenses and also display you when and also just how to usage each one properly.

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But First: What Are Simple Tenses in English?

Events have the right to happen either in the past, in the future or right now, in the existing. A verb’s tense will assist us number out at what time the activity of the verb took area or will take place.

You might already be acquainted via the English straightforward tenses. These are regularly the first ones that English language learners encounter.

The simple current tense mostly explains an action that is happening right now. Tright here is no auxiliary or “helping” verb—just the “action” verb.

I sing.

She sings.

The easy previous tense defines a completed action that taken place in the previous. Again, tbelow is no auxiliary verb.

I sang.

She sang.

The straightforward future tense describes an activity in—you guessed it—the future. This time, you require the auxiliary verb “will” in addition to your action verb in the infinitive (base) form.

I will certainly sing.

She will sing.

Easy right?

Now we are ready to watch what makes English compound tenses different.

What Are Compound Tenses in English?

Compound tenses are basically adjustments to the straightforward tenses that provide more certain information around once the activity arisen, started or completed. Think of the simple tenses as a starter deck of a card game, and the compound tenses as the new and also latest development fill.

As you will certainly see below, a compound tense likewise always calls for the auxiliary verb “to have” or “to be” in enhancement to the activity verb.

For example, listen to the third sentence in this video, wbelow a guy describes what it is prefer to loss out of love.

It was the saddest message I have actually ever gotten in my life.

The initially verb (was) is in the basic previous tense and also should look fairly acquainted to you. The second (have gotten) is a compound tense that provides deeper indevelopment around this person’s previous.


You will learn even more around that compound tense later in this post, however you deserve to additionally check out the language of the video additionally making use of takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and also turns them right into personalized language discovering lessons.

Click on any type of word in the interenergetic subtitles and also you will gain an prompt interpretation and also grammar information (like what tense each verb is in). will certainly additionally present you various other videos that have the word so you understand how to usage it properly in any type of conmessage. Just authorize up for a trial to explore the video above—as well as the full video library—through all the finding out functions.

English Compound Tenses Explained the Easy Way! 9 Simple Explanations via Sample Sentences

As you gain acquainted via these English compound tenses, tright here are digital exercises and worksheets wbelow you can practice to make sure you are expertise them.


Try this tenses exercise from EnglishGrammar, wbelow you will have to review a sentence through absent verbs and also select the correct easy or compound tense for the verbs. Or attempt this series of verb tense worksheets from Agenda Internet. For some on-the-go verb drills, check out the app 12 Tenses. It provides you mini quizzes for all the English tenses consisting of simple and compound ones.

1. Present out Continuous

The existing continuous tense is provided to denote an event that is presently taking place. If you wish to talk around points as they are happening, you need to usage this tense.

For instance, if someone asks “what are you doing?” you will certainly frequently should answer in the existing continuous tense.

To develop this tense, you require the auxiliary verb “to be,” conjugated for your topic in the straightforward existing tense (I am, he is, you are, etc.). Then, include the sufdeal with “-ing” to your activity verb.

For circumstances, let us say we wanted to explain a singer’s performance as it is happening. Our activity verb is “sing,” and our subject is “she.” We might say:

She is singing beautifully.

The verb “to be” is conjugated in the easy existing tense for “she,” and also we added “-ing” to the verb “sing.” As you will see throughout this write-up, the “-ing” suffix is a good indicator that you are in a continuous tense—meaning the action is continuous (recurring, still happening).

In the complying with examples, store your eye out for the auxiliary verb and the “-ing” sufsettle that modifies the original verb:

I am writing a letter to Marta.

Rohan is watering the plants.

They are sleeping in the guest room.

You are not paying attention in course.

We are playing a video clip game.

2. Present out Perfect

This tense is used to describe recurring actions. The action might be finimelted or can still be proceeding, depending on conmessage, as you will check out listed below.


To form this tense, you should use the verb “to have” conjugated for your subject in the basic present tense (I have, she has, they have, and so on.). Then you require the previous participle develop of the activity verb. Cabrillo College has a beneficial list of past participles for common verbs right here.

Here is an example with the action verb “choose.” The past participle of “choose” is “chosen.”

You have actually chosen the wrong book.

You will certainly regularly hear this tense used via words choose “just” to explain precisely once a recent event happened.

I have just consumed my lunch.

You have the right to likewise usage this tense with “since” + or “for” + to explain how lengthy somepoint has actually been true.

She has actually felt sick for 3 days.

They have been friends given that 2010.

Here are more examples. Keep an eye out for the auxiliary verbs and past participles.

I have just finished my research study paper.

They have lived in this apartment considering that prior to I was born.

Tridib has visited currently.

3. Present out Perfect Continuous

This compound tense is offered to represent an recurring (or continuous) action that started a while ago. For example, if you were having actually a lazy Sunday watching TV all day long, you can use this tense to define your day.

For this tense, you should use the auxiliary verb “to have actually,” complied with by “been” and then add “-ing” to the activity verb.

Here is just how it would certainly work-related with the verb “to crave” (to desire something exceptionally badly, particularly food).

I have been craving ice cream all week.

Here are some more examples:

I have actually been binge-watching “Doctor Who” all day.

You have been missing work lately.

We have actually been working tirelessly on this project.

Laura has been writing the agency newsletter for a while.

We uncovered that they have actually been stealing from the office.

4. Past Continuous

This tense is supplied to reexisting an action that was continuous for a while, yet has actually finimelted.

The action is not happening right now, yet it was happening in the previous. Think of this as the method you recall a vivid memory. The events have currently taken place, yet you are remembering them like a film that is being played in front of you.

To use this tense, you need the auxiliary verb “to be” and you add the “-ing” sufresolve to the action verb.

For instance, I deserve to say:

I was singing at the concert last night.

This suggests that although I have actually finiburned singing currently, there was an extended duration last night as soon as I was singing.

Here are some even more examples:

Sheila was playing the flute all morning.

They were laughing at his jokes nonsoptimal.

You were eating a pizza as soon as I observed you.

The water was boiling, so I knew it was time to put the pasta in.

5. Past Perfect

The past perfect is used to describe actions that were finished before an additional occasion took place.

Comparable to the present perfect, we use the previous participle of our action verb but area “had” prior to it.

If you were informing a story, and also you wanted to “collection the scene” to describe what occurred before the main activity of the story, you can say something like:

I had gone to bed as soon as I heard a stvariety noise at my door.

“Gone” is the past participle of the verb “to go.” Of course, “I heard” is in the basic previous tense. You will certainly frequently see these two tenses—the previous perfect and easy past—paired together in this way.

Here are some more examples:

I had actually tried the violin yet quickly stopped practicing.

Roya had dozed off when the bell woke her up.

They had actually eaten their dinner before the stranger arrived.

We had completed the picture in the morning so we saw the park in the evening to relax.

6. Past Perfect Continuous

This tense is similar to the previous perfect, however the word “continuous” must offer you a clue as to how it is various.

Use this tense to define ongoing actions that have already been completed at some allude in the past. For instance, if you wanted to talk around a negative halittle bit that you no longer have, you might usage this tense.

To create this tense, we first use “had,” then “been” and lastly add the “-ing” sufsettle to the activity verb. Not that difficult, huh?

We will certainly usage the bad halittle example. Our action verb is “to smoke.”

I had actually been smoking so many type of cigarettes my physician told me I had actually no choice but to quit.

The following few examples should make this even more clear:

You had actually been skipping class for over a week before the school called your parents.

They had actually been drinking on the sly till Max caught them.

Vin had actually been making a toy cart when her brvarious other returned home.

We had been working overtime for over a month till the manager promised us a pay climb.

7. Future Continuous

This tense is provided to denote an ongoing action that will just be completed much later on. The action has not even taken place yet! But we are expecting it to occur.

If you wish to talk about your life plans or tasks you have coming up, you would likely use the future continuous tense.

To create in this tense, we commonly begin with “will certainly be” and also then add the “-ing” sufsettle to the action verb.

Here is an instance via the verb “to sing.”

I will be singing at the concert tomorrow evening.

I am talking around a continuous action that has not taken location in the present moment.

Here are some even more simple examples to understand exactly how the future constant looks:

He will be studying math once he starts college.

They will certainly be headlining a significant music festival following month.

We need to leave currently. The roads will certainly be getting icy quickly.

8. Future Perfect

We usage this tense to talk around an activity that has actually not taken location yet as though it had actually already been completed. In other words, we are looking forward to as soon as a certain action or event will be finiburned.

For instance, you can use this tense once making a promise to someone or once setting a deadline on a project.

To develop this tense, use “will” followed by “have” and also then add the past participle create of the activity verb.

Here is an instance that you can remember from your college days:

Mom, I will certainly have finished my homework prior to I go to the movies!

Aobtain, if you notification, tbelow are two events happening in the sentence (finishing homework-related and going to the movies) and also the future perfect is the one that will be completed initially.

Here are some even more examples:

Let’s accomplish at noon. I will have actually submitted my report by then.

He will certainly have actually eaten his pizza before the rest of the team shows up.

We will have built this house by the time our children are in school.

9. Future Perfect Continuous

Finally, we usage this tense to talk about a continuous occasion that has already began and is meant to last until a particular point in the future. In other words, the action will be continuing until or prior to another occasion takes area.

For this tense, we aobtain use “will certainly have” followed by “been” and add “-ing” to the activity verb.

For circumstances, I might say:

By 9:00, I will certainly have been waiting below for 2 hrs.

This implies that the activity of “waiting” is ensuing both in the current and in the future, until 9:00.

These examples will provide you an principle around the context in which the future perfect consistent is typically used:

By next spring, you will certainly have actually been living in this town for 5 years.

We will certainly have been working right here for nine months in December.

By the finish of this year, they will certainly have actually been playing as a rock band for over a decade.

The best means to boost your English compound tenses is to speak and compose on a selection of topics making use of all the various tenses. Try maintaining a diary wbelow you deserve to talk about yourself, the things you perform or the occasions of the day. You have the right to also document yourself mentioning what taken place this week and what your plans are for the future. Do not simply stick to the easy tenses, but attempt to use each of the compound tenses as the scenarios seem fit.

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Or if you are reading a book or an write-up, attempt to spot the compound tenses being offered for various contexts. Create a research setup, make a list of participles and also auxiliary verbs and mix them up.

Above all, do not be afraid of making mistakes and also trust in yourself. With the help of this guide, the English compound tenses will eventually be second nature to you!

Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel complimentary to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries. 

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